© John Cheng

NDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 24, 2019 – 2018 Pan Am Championships hoop silver-medalist Lili Mizuno of Northbrook, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, Jenna Zhao of Burr Ridge, Ill./Vitrychenko Academy Corp., and Victoria Kobelev of Palm Coast, Fla./Rhythmic Art, won the senior, junior elite and Level 10 all-around titles, respectively, at the 2019 Rhythmic Challenge at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, Ind. The U.S. Rhythmic Gymnastics Group, which trains at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, and the Vitrychenko Junior Group took top honors for the Junior and Senior Group Challenge, respectively.

In the Senior Challenge, Mizuno scored a 70.600 for the all-around title, along with the highest score for ball (19.450). Evita Griskenas of Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, garnered the silver medal with her 68.850, which included the highest scores for hoop, 18.450; clubs, 17.400; and ribbon, 17.350. Nastasya Generalova of Los Angeles/California Rhythms, rounded out the medal podium in third at 65.850.

Zhao claimed a 59.700 and the junior all-around title. She also had the top score for all four events: rope and ball, 14.900; cubs, 15.200; and ribbon, 14.700. Esther Kiseleva of Wayne, N.J./Liberty Academy took second place (55.150), with Ciel Arzandyan of Van Nuys, Calif./Rhythmic Academy of Los Angeles, in third (52.400).

For Level 10, Kobelev’s 58.050 put her in first, ahead of Alexandria Kautzman of Westlake Village, Calif./Burlo Gymnastics (57.750). Naomi Skotnikov of Highland Park, Ill./Vitrychenko Academy Corp., was third (55.000).

In the Group Challenge, the U.S. Senior National Group, which trains at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, posted the highest two-event score of 30.700, 12.750/two clubs-three hoops, and17.950/five balls. The members of the group are: Dasha Baltovick of Highland Park, Ill.; Isabelle Connor of Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Connie Du of Deerfield, Ill.; Matylda Marszalek of Highland Park, Ill.; Yelyzaveta Merenzon of Buffalo Grove, Ill.; Elizaveta Pletneva of Caldwell, N.J.; Nicole Sladkov of Vernon Hills, Ill.; and Kristina Sobolevskaya of Deerfield, Ill., The North-East Rhythmics Group was second at 16.725, followed by Rhythmic Dreams Group (15.765) in third. For the juniors, the Vitrychenko Junior Group earned a two-event score of 19.650, finishing ahead of Eurogymnastics Group (11.700).

Rhythmic gymnastics is characterized by grace, beauty and elegance combined with dance and acrobatic elements, while working with the apparatus in a choreographed routine to music. The five apparatus used in rhythmic gymnastics are rope, hoop, ball, clubs, and ribbon. Rhythmic gymnasts may compete individually or as a group. The choreography must cover the entire floor with intricate apparatus handling, dance combinations, jumps, leaps, rotations, and balance difficulties. Each movement involves a high degree of athletic skill. Physical abilities needed by a rhythmic gymnast include strength, power, flexibility, agility, dexterity, endurance and hand-eye coordination.

Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. The organization is committed to creating a culture that encourages and supports its athletes and focuses on its highest priority, the safety and well-being of the athletes. USA Gymnastics has already taken specific, concrete steps to strengthen its safe sport policies and procedures. The organization’s disciplines include men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics and gymnastics for all (formerly known as group gymnastics).